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  1. #1
    Super Moderator BATcher's Avatar
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    Could homeplugs/powerline adapters cause router/ADSL line instability?

    I am going to be asked this one next week, so I'd be interested in any experiences.

    Line is a recently-installed BT 'fibre to the cabinet' ~38 Mbps down / ~9 Mbps up, standard OpenReach broadband line.
    Router is the latest BT HomeHub 5
    Plugged to the back of the router via ethernet patch cables are
    * a PC
    * a printer
    * a ZyXEL homeplug (powerline adapter) inserted in the usual British 13A mains power socket

    In another room is another ZyXEL homeplug, connected via an ethernet patch cable to a laptop.

    During the period when the homeplugs/laptops are in use, the blue "connected" light at the front of the HomeHub router can change to orange/red (line dropped), then flashing orange (line attempting to be re-established), then back to blue again (line established).

    This can happen several times during a two-hour session.

    The question is: has anyone come across any occasions where connecting homeplugs to a router can cause the broadband line to drop after a period of time?
    BATcher

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  2. #2
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    BATcher, since no one has responded I will.
    Here in North America I have installed powerline adapters on several occasions and have not had any problems like you describe. (There was one case when I felt like "slapping my forehead" when I realized that I'd plugged a powerline adapter into a surge protector instead of the mains -- the surge protector kept the powerline adapters from being able to communicate with each other -- but let's not talk about that, OK?)

    Let me ask you, does this happen while the homeplug nearest the router is not plugged into the mains?

    May I suggest that you test with a digital voltmeter to ensure that all devices are receiving full "British" mains voltage?

    And while we're indulging in flights of fancy, if there are surge protectors installed there is a possibility that one could be problematic in influencing the mains supply to a single device (perhaps the router?). You might temporarily remove any surge protectors while observing the behavior of the broadband router.

    I'm afraid I'm still scratching my head in consternation. I'm expecting that you'll find none of this helpful.
    Last edited by RockE; 2016-05-07 at 19:40. Reason: Batcher to BATcher

  3. #3
    WS Lounge VIP access-mdb's Avatar
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    I was going to reply straight away but then thought that it didn't match my experience. However, as RockE has said, no one else has responded, so here goes.

    I have two desktops connected to my ADSL router via TP-Link powerlines. Every now and then I lose connection to the internet on both desktops, but if I check my tablet or mobile (both using wifi) then I still have internet connection. This first started when I had a Netgear powerline (which only had one Ethernet line) and continued with the TP-Link, which has two. At first I would try and fix the problem, but often this just made it worse - getting a yellow exclamation on the Network icon in the systray. After a while I just left it and it seemed to recover after a short break (maybe a minute or two) and I haven't had the yellow exclamation mark since - well except once.

    Is that your experience, just waiting for a short while fixes it - and Wifi continues to work during the episode?

    The one exception was nothing would fix the yellow exclamation mark. I reverted to the single Ethernet powerline, and that worked. After a bit of Googling and reading the instructions (how quaint!), I reset the TP-Links when plugged into different sockets in the same room (not my computer room) and that got them talking again, and they have worked fine with my desktops since.

    I'm not sure that this helps, but maybe it might give you some ideas.

    Perhaps this is an issue with powerlines, how many people in WS have them and don't have problems?
    Last edited by access-mdb; 2016-05-07 at 10:38. Reason: T-Link to TP-Links
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  4. #4
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    Thought I'd Google that http://lmgtfy.com/?q=powerline+adapt...+bt+home+hub+5 and it would seem that you aren't alone, but no definitive solutions.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator BATcher's Avatar
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    Thanks to all three of you for your suggestions!
    Especial thanks to Sudo, for showing me how to use Google...

    Unfortunately the router and the broadband line do not belong to us, and using WiFi has already been rejected because it won't adequately penetrate the thick internal stone walls of the Town Hall. Our room and the "router room" are separated by a corridor with the aforesaid stone walls.

    If the homeplugs will not play nicely with the Home Hub 5, then we face a dilemma.
    BATcher

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  6. #6
    WS Lounge VIP Browni's Avatar
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    I haven't used homeplugs myself but this seems a pretty common complaint.

  7. #7
    Super Moderator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    I too hesitated to add my own experience but here goes: I found that neither Devolo nor TP-Link 'Powerline' adapters would connect to a BT 500 'Powerline' base unit (my thanks to my local Maplin store for patience and exchanging them without a quibble).

    Here's the rub... I bought the BT 500 units on special offer (Groupon UK ) for my own use originally. I lent them to my friend to test and they worked well for her. I bought a set of Zyxel ones on her behalf because they were significantly cheaper then found they only worked sporadically in her house, much like what you are experiencing, i.e. dropouts. She lives miles away and after trying first Davolo then TP-Link adapters it ended up being easier to just leave her with my BT 500 units and I kept her Zyxel ones. I've never had a problem with the Zyxel 'Powerline' units at home. (However, I rewired my own house so I know the condition of the wiring circuits and 'earth' quality exactly.)

    From this I learned that:
    • Not all 'Powerline' devices are equal and quite often 'you get what you pay for'.
    • The 'Powerline' standard doesn't appear to be much of a 'standard' when trying to 'mix and match' adapters from different manufacturers.
    • If your 'Powerline' setup is problematic in one location, move the setup to a completely new location (i.e. different building) and test again.
    • Consider using an old electric drill on the same circuit. If your 'Powerline' connection can survive how the drill's sparking armature dirties up the mains supply then it can usually survive anything.

    Hope this helps...

  8. #8
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    It sounds to me like the home hub doesn't have adequate filtering on the mains and you get interference from the Zyxels.
    Try running an extension lead, mains or ethernet, to get the Zyxel away from the hub.
    You could add a ferrite core or two to the mains lead to try to remove the noise, or use a UPS to do it.

    cheers, Paul

  9. #9
    WS Lounge VIP access-mdb's Avatar
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    Paul, my TP-Link is very close to my TP-Link router. Are you saying that moving it further away might stop the occasional drop outs?
    Talk is cheap because supply exceeds demand

  10. #10
    Super Moderator BATcher's Avatar
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    Perhaps I should have added that the Home Hub 5 and a much faster 'fibre' connection replaced a Home Hub 3 and an ordinary non-fibre connection, some weeks ago.

    There was no problem at all with the Home Hub 3 / homeplugs setup over the last few years (two? three?).

    Since the HH5 is alleged to have better WiFi performance than the HH3, I am going to try this on Wednesday, with the ordinary internal wireless laptop adapter, then with a so-called High Gain USB wireless adapter.
    Perhaps the homeplugs can be avoided?
    BATcher

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  11. #11
    WS Lounge VIP Browni's Avatar
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    The Wifi performance should be pretty good as the HH5 supports 802.11ac.

  12. #12
    Super Moderator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    So, the Zyxels worked fine until the Home Hub was changed? Are you sure both Zyxels are plugged into ring sockets, not spurs? Is there a fridge and/or freezer motor cycling on and off on the same ring main?

    EDIT: I missed the bit about it being a Town Hall. I appreciate that mains spikes are more likely to affect the 'Powerline' adapters than the router but are there any large photocopiers on the same ring main coming out of 'sleep' at the same time as the 'dropouts'? (Multi-document bins can often be electrically noisy when they initialise.)
    Last edited by Rick Corbett; 2016-05-10 at 11:16.

  13. #13
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    Reading this article - http://www.alphr.com/bt/bt-home-hub-5 could it be possible that the Hub is broadcasting on the 5GHz channel ?

    While it says that the Hub 5 is good up to 30m it didn't describe the conditions and thick brick walls are killers for even 2.4GHz.

    What Rick is asking about is known as SHINE and can also be caused by an electrically noisy central heating thermostat or anything else switching.
    Last edited by Sudo15; 2016-05-09 at 11:28.

  14. #14
    Super Moderator BATcher's Avatar
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    I would think that is broadcasting on both the 2.4 GHz and the 5 GHz bands, but the laptops we have haven't even heard of 5 GHz...!
    BATcher

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  15. #15
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    Is this a general complaint for all of the Town Hall departments or is it restricted to just a particular section/user ?

    If it is a general complaint then a workaround would be to get an alternative VDSL router.

    Some have external antenna which can be substituted for high gain ones which could compliment the high gain one you are considering for the computer.

    However, it may just be a compatibility problem with the Hub 5 and the Zyxels and as Rick has inferred - investing in the BT ones may do it.

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